Israel Hamas war: UK evacuation flights begin as humanitarian crisis engulfs Gaza

An Israeli howitzer fires at the Gaza Strip from the south of Israel on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023.
An Israeli howitzer fires at the Gaza Strip from the south of Israel on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. Copyright Ohad Zwigenberg/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Joshua AskewSaskia O'Donoghue
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That's the end of our live coverage for today, thanks for reading. We'll be back again at 07:00CET on Friday morning with all the latest developments. For now, read our live blog below to see how events unfolded on Thursday:



  • Israel continues to batter Gaza with airstrikes, hitting schools, hospitals and residential areas
  • Palestinian officials say the enclave faces a humanitarian catastrophe, after Israel cut off electricity, fuel, food and water supplies
  • The death toll in Gaza now stands at more than 1,417. Israeli authorities say 1,300 were killed in Hamas's surprise attack on Saturday
  • Israel's president has said the country is readying for an extensive military campaign in Gaza
  • Some 383,000 people have been displaced in Gaza, according to the UN
  • Top US diplomat Antony Blinken has landed in Israel. He will also meet the Palestinian president
  • Plans to establish a safe corridor for Palestinians fleeing Israeli strikes have been rejected
  • Syrian state media report that Israel has attacked two airports in Syria
  • Hamas’s operation came after a record number of Palestinians killed were killed in 2023

France orders the banning of pro-Palestinian demonstrations 

Gérald Darmanin, the French Minister of the Interior, has ordered a ban on “pro-Palestinian demonstrations" saying they "are likely to generate disturbances to public order”. 

A spokesperson for Darmanin's office told ADP arrests would be made if necessary, specifically of  "the organisers [of the protests] and troublemakers".


Beijing says it is 'deeply concerned' about conflict 

China has said it's "deeply concerned" by the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and has called for a ceasefire.

The remarks were made during a telephone conversation between diplomat Zhai Jun and an Israeli official on Thursday, according to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“China is deeply concerned by the escalation of tensions and violence between Israel and Palestine (and) is saddened by the civilian casualties caused by the conflict,” said Chinese special envoy for the Middle East Zhai Jun to Rafael Harpaz, an official at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, according to a statement released by Beijing. 

China "condemns the harm caused to innocent civilians and calls for a ceasefire and an end to violence as soon as possible, as well as the resumption of peace talks on the basis of a two-way solution States to strengthen the confidence of people on both sides in achieving peace,” Zhai continued. 

Beijing announced on Thursday that three of its nationals had been killed in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, while two others were "unreachable" and "a number were injured." 

“The main priorities are an immediate ceasefire and the protection of civilians,” Zhai added during the talks. 



Israel has hit Gaza with 4,000 tons of explosives since Saturday - army 

The Israeli army has announced that it has bombarded the Palestinian enclave of Gaza - controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas - with 4,000 tons of explosives since Saturday.

In a press release, they wrote: “Around 6,000 bombs have been dropped on the Gaza Strip for a total weight of 4,000 tonnes of explosives”, since the start of the Israeli response to the attack launched on Saturday by Hamas.

The press release added the bombing had killed “hundreds of terrorists”.




UK to arrange flights for Britons stranded in Israel

The UK is in the process of arranging flights to get stranded British nationals out of Israel, the Foreign Office has said.

The first plane will leave Tel Aviv later on Thursday, with more set to depart in the coming days "subject to security".

They emphasised that those eligible to leave will be contacted directly and that British nationals should not go to airports unless they are specifically told to do so. 

A team of UK diplomats, trained in crisis managment, have already been to dispatched to Israel to assist British nationals.

The move is a U-turn from the UK government who said earlier this week it would not arrange evacuation flights because commercial routes were still available.

In the last few days, however, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Air France, Lufthansa and Emirates have all suspended flights.

The government-arranged flights will be chartered by the Foreign Office but are commercial services, meaning that each passenger will be charged a fee of £300 (or about €347).

A number of countries have already completed flights to get people home from Israel - including France, Italy, Poland and Canada.


White House: Trump's Hezbollah comments 'unhinged'

The White House has criticised disgraced from US President Donald Trump's comments on the conflict, calling them "dangerous and unhinged".

Speaking to supporters in Florida last night, Trump called Hezbollah "smart" and criticised Israel's defence minister.

In response, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said: "Statements like this are dangerous and unhinged. It's completely lost on us why any American would ever praise an Iran-backed terrorist organisation as 'smart'."

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gestures after speaking on Wednesday at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Trump also called Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant "a jerk" and, while he told the rally crowd his prayers were with Israel and vowed to stand by the country and back efforts to destroy Hamas, he also described a previous "bad experience" with Israel's leaders.

"Israel was going to do this with us, and it was being planned and working on it for months," he said about the coordination to kill General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's Quds Force. We had everything all set to go, and the night before it happened, I got a call that Israel will not be participating in this attack", he told the crowd.

"I'll never forget that Bibi Netanyahu let us down", he added. 


Palestinian president Abbas condemns killing of civilians 'on both sides'

The president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, has condemned the killing and abuse of civilians on both sides of the ongoing conflict.

During a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah, official Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas as saying: "We reject the practices of killing civilians or abusing them on both sides because they contravene morals, religion and international law".

"We renounce violence and adhere to international legitimacy, peaceful popular resistance and political action as a path to achieving our national goals," he added.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is set to meet with Abbas tomorrow.


New restrictions on terror inmates in Israeli prison - Security Minister

Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has announced new restrictions on terror inmates in Israeli prisons, aimed at worsening their living conditions. 

Approved by Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, the restrictions are set to “make prisoners’ living space more crowded” and see terror convicts sleeping on mattresses.

The changes are coming into force to enable prisons to absorb new inmates, particularly those accused of terrorism captured by Israel.


Israeli military says bodies of 222 soldiers have been identified 

Every Israeli soldier killed by Hamas militants so far in the Israel-Palestinian conflict has been identified, the Israeli military confirmed on Thursday.

A total of 222 Israeli soldiers have died and their families have all been notified, a spokesperson for the military said.



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